Alibaba Cloud, the digital technology and intelligence backbone of the world renown Alibaba Group, recently unveiled its latest large language model called Tongyi Qianwen. The new AI langauge model will be integrated across Alibaba’s various businesses to improve the general user experience in the near future. The company’s customers and developers will soon have access to the model to create customised AI features in a cost-effective but also efficient way.
What is the market offering of Tongyi Qianwen?
Integrating Tongyi Qianwen (通义千问 in Chinese) into Alibaba’s businesses and building tailored models with customers, it will be integrated into all business applications across Alibaba’s ecosystem to further enhance user experience, from enterprise communication, intelligent voice assistance, e-commerce, search to navigation as well as entertainment.
With Chinese and English language capabilities, the Tongyi Qianwen model will first be deployed on DingTalk, Alibaba’s digital collaboration workplace and application development platform, and Tmall Genie, a provider of a variety of IoT-enabled smart home appliances.
- Tongyi Qianwen-powered DingTalk is designed to make workplace communications more efficient. For example, it can summarize meeting notes, turn meeting conversations into text, write emails, and draft business proposals or promotion campaign plans through simple prompts. Users can instantly create a mini application on DingTalk by photographing a draft idea written on paper.
- Tongyi Qianwen-powered Tmall Genie will be able to engage in more dynamic and vivid conversations with users in China. For instance, it can develop and tell stories to children, provide healthy diet recipes, offer travel tips and recommend background music for a workout.
To further enable enterprises and companies to reap the benefits of AI-driven innovation, Alibaba Cloud will offer its clients access to Tongyi Qianwen on the cloud and help them build customized large language models. By fine-tuning and setting Tongyi Qianwen with customers’ proprietary intelligence and industrial know-how in a secure cloud environment, enterprises will be able to establish tailored AI models to suit their specific and various business needs.
This is expected to spark a new wave of growth momentum for customers, eliminating the need for resource-intensive and expensive pre-training processes for building foundational models. Tongyi Qianwen is now available for enterprise customers in China for beta testing.
In addition, developers will soon be able to access Alibaba Cloud’s Tongyi Qianwen to create their AI applications at scale. This will further bolster the AI software ecosystem across all sectors ranging from logistics to media, finance, manufacturing, energy, retail and much more. Tongyi Qianwen as an API is available for developers in China to apply for beta testing now.
Multimodal capabilities, including image understanding and text-to-image, will soon be added to the Tongyi Qianwen (通义千问) model to provide users with more compelling AI features.
Tongyi Qianwen is based on Tongyi, Alibaba’s proprietary pre-trained model framework that unifies AI models, including those that turn text into images and short videos. Alibaba Cloud launched ModelScope, an open-source Model-as-a-Service (MaaS) platform with hundreds of AI models, including a Tongyi-based text-to-image model for global use. With over 1 million active users, ModelScope has made 800 models available with over 16 million downloads.
What is Alibaba Cloud offering enterprises and students?
Designed for small and medium-sized enterprises, the new ECS Universal instance family provides the same stability of its similar product, while saving costs of up to 40%. It’s suitable for SMEs conducting web apps and websites, enterprise office apps and offline data analysis.
OSS-RC enables business customers from all over the world to reserve storage capacity in a specific region for about one year. It also reduces the capacity cost by up to 50% from pay-as-you-go prices. When customers have no requirement to store their data in a specific region, they can create an OSS “Anywhere Bucket” to store their data in a region chosen by Alibaba Cloud. OSS-ARC can then reserve the capacity for objects stored in OSS Anywhere Buckets.
It reduces the capacity cost by up to 70% from pay-as-you-go prices. To make computing resources accessible to developers in China, Alibaba Cloud announced free trials of core products for up to 3 months, including ECS and PolarDB databases. Alibaba Cloud will provide 1,000 free training courses on cloud technologies and around 500 hands-on experiments based on real business scenarios for the developers to access cloud technologies easily.
Alibaba announced its Cloud for Youth program is partnering with UNESCO Chair on Artificial Intelligence in Education to bring more computing resources to students in China’s rural areas. Unveiled in 2021, Alibaba’s non-profit Cloud for Youth program helps to narrow the digital gap in China by providing cloud computers to schools in underdeveloped areas. The goal is to help youths strengthen their technical foundation in digital capabilities and cultivate digital talents.
Alibaba Cloud announced lower cost options for key cloud products as well, including Elastic Compute Service (ECS) and Object Storage Service (OSS), by introducing new ECS instances, OSS Reserved Capacity (OSS-RC) and OSS Anywhere Reserved Capacity (OSS-ARC). This strategic and innovative move will make computing more accessible and way more affordable for companies and businesses looking to unlock all the emerging opportunities in the new AI era in China.
What did the Alibaba Cloud executives have to say?
“We are at a technological watershed moment majorly driven by generative AI innovation and cloud computing. Companies and businesses across all sectors have started to embrace intelligence transformation to stay ahead of the game,” said Daniel Zhang, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Alibaba Group and Chief Executive Officer of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence.
“As one of the leading global cloud computing service providers, Alibaba Cloud is committed to making computing and AI services more accessible and inclusive for enterprises and developers around the world, enabling them to uncover more insights, explore new business models for growth, and also to create more cutting-edge products and services for society.”
“Generative AI powered by large language models is ushering in an unprecedented new phase. In this latest AI era, we can create additional value for all our enterprise customers and broader communities through our resilient public cloud infrastructure and our proven expert AI capabilities,” said Jingren Zhou, the Chief Technology Officer of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence.
“We are currently witnessing a new paradigm of AI development where cloud and AI models play an essential role. By making this paradigm more inclusive, we hope to facilitate businesses from all industries with their intelligence transformation and, ultimately, help them to boost their business productivity, expand their skills as well as their expertise and capabilities while unlocking many more exciting opportunities through a wide variety of business innovations.”